Alexis Sanchez was immensely impressive during his freshman season with Arsenal. The Chile international arrived at the Emirates with plenty of hype, as the north London outfit paid Barcelona around £35 million for his services prior to the 2014/15 campaign. While few disputed the Chilean’s talent, not many Arsenal supporters could imagine just how well Alexis would settle into playing in the taxing Premier League.
The 26-year-old forward went on to score 16 goals and add eight assists during league play, and he hit the back of the net 24 times in 51 total matches for the Gunners. Although his scoring statistics are surely spectacular, it was his work rate that equally impressed Arsenal fans.
When Alexis was on the pitch, which he was only unavailable for team selection twice in 38 Premier League matches, he looked like a player trying to prove himself to his manager and teammates. Some big-money superstars tend to relax and let the game come to them, but not Alexis.
One glance at his playing style and you can tell Alexis loves the game of soccer as if he is still a child. The Chilean’s deep affection for the sport goes back to his youth days in the small town of Tocopilla. Alexis’s humble beginnings are underlined in a fascinating story that he recently told Arsenal’s official website.
Alexis tells a story of how the mayor of his hometown helped buy him boots when he was young, which his parents could not afford at the time. The 26-year-old stated, “There was a time in which I had no football boots as my mum didn’t have money to buy a pair for me. I begged for new boots at home, but unfortunately my mum couldn’t pay for them. At that time I was the most important player for Arauco, the municipality’s football team.”
“My mum went to Arauco’s city hall to ask for some sort of grant to the town’s mayor so I could have a new pair of boots. I wasn’t aware of her move until one night at 10pm a delivery van stopped at my doorstep with some brand new boots for me. I put them on straight away and I started playing in the street. I was really happy about that.”
The only concern for Arsenal is that Alexis’s playing style will begin to catch up with him and fatigue will settle in. Although he is not one to request rest, Alexis will surely need plenty of it during the summer, especially with the Copa America tournament set to begin in just a few weeks (hosted by Chile nonetheless).
Alexis was one of five finalists for the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year award, as the Arsenal man beat out Sergio Aguero, Eden Hazard, David De Gea, and Philippe Countinho.
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